Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The crazy world of B Shool Con-Tests!

‘Your e-mail has been sent’
Nothing really significant about the message displayed above that we all see flash after we send our everyday mundane mails to every corner of the globe. But It is when it is when the mail you have just sent is to an institute that has organized a paper presentation or a case analysis contest.
It seems to be the current rage amongst the entire B-School fraternity, at least here in SCMHRD. Everyone whose anyone seems to have an acquired a PhD for Paper Dissertations or a Joseph Stiglitz for Case Studies. As usual Its up to be to see why and what motivates my fellow mates to engage in such behavior: usual money motivates us mortals to a large extent. Its funny here to see the behavior exhibited in this rather competitive time period. A simple example is formation of teams. Do I take my roomie/best friend/girl friend/the intelligent guy/the hot chick… Each of them possesses their own unique set of pros/cons which are quite obvious. It again depends on your objective mentioned in the pie chart. If you want to win= intelligent guy. If you want knowledge= do it with best friend/roomie & for time pass= hot chick. The trick here is to find a hot chick who is intelligent and is fun to work with. They are a dying breed but exist.

Another thing is its better to have people from different specializations a.k.a possess complimentary skills to those that you possess(if any). Typically for a 2 member team you want a Mark+Fin and for a 3 member throw in an operations guys. And there HAS to be someone who is good in creating flashy presentations in PowerPoint as that is quite an art itself. And I have realized that its better to have 3 not so intelligent Hardworking guys rather than 1 smart guy and 2 lazy bums in a team. The former will always deliver better results. Also, a lot of luck is involved. Lets face it, its judged by blokes who were just like you and me.
Its practically raining contests here in the IIIrd semester. Every B school worth its AICTE certification(seems that organizing fests is a criterion to get a certification!). Typically these are what is offered on the platter:

1) B-Plans: Standard Boiler Plate. I avoid them as its too detailed, cant plagiarize and requires too much originality. I leave this to the Gujjus & the really smart guys who have been dreaming of business plans since they could read. Eg: IIT-B Ecell’s Eureka. My Current Score : 0/1

2) Finance Valuation Cases: Grimace and move on. This is purely number crunching and finance concepts tested to the core. My roommate who is amongst the top 1% in finance concepts would go for stuff like this and I watch from behind. If you’re a marketing guy don’t even think you can faff your way as this is just a no for that kind of thing. Pure Concepts only. Eg: The Deal by JPMC. My Current Score: N.A

3) Paper Presentations(All Specs): This is the bread & butter that even you and me can do. Topics range from outsourcing to brazil to Balancing Scorecards. Doesn’t require too much domain knowledge. Just smart googling and referring HBR’s. This has maximum attempt rates across students as its all over the net, you just have to put it down right with correct flow. My Current Score 0/2

4) Marketing Case Studies: Now this is where the action lies. Carries higher status and prize money(rightly) . Typically involves a fictional company which has to get out of a rut or wants to do make millions overnight and decided that we are the messiahs who can save them. They are quite fun & challenging and makes you apply what little you have learnt practically which is quite satisfying. Fierce competition though and you can expect the best of brains here. Helps to have a finance guy on board or atleast consult and repair the absurd financials you have projected. I will never forget the look on my fin-guru-roomie’s face when I showed him my cash flows for a case. He doubted if I could even put on my pants correctly every morning after that. My Current Score 0/3

5) Online games: Fun, for the no so serious, involves quizzes or puzzles and fast googling again within a time limit. Very slim chances as there are people who specialize in these and have like a small cabal of people who wait for the games like a rocket countdown working on 5 computers at a time. Quite a sight. My Current Score 0/3.

6) Culturals: Meant for those who are ‘alternatively talented’ or hate any form of academic activity. Involved dancing,debating,dumb charades & singing. We have a quite of few of them right here. Only downside/upside is going to the host’s campus is mandatory, a nice way to see another B School but considerable monetary expenditure involved. My Current Score : N.A
As you might have inferred from the above post, so far my brilliant insights haven’t impressed the jury. I would like to blame the govt on this but I don’t think that’s fair. My CV for this semester will continue to ride off my cough past glory cough. And its not like I’ve got a PPO from my beloved summer company that’s really helping matters.
My pal told me although I’ve struck nothing but ground zero the last million times, I shouldn’t give up trying as the next one could just be it. But it seems like all of ‘em are independent events..aren’t they? the end of it, it’s the guys who win these who are the real dudes of the campus and have managed to really learn and apply it. Of course they are not guaranteed a CEO post and those who don’t make the cut will not end up employed serving food in the college mess..

Wonder if yellow & black looks good on me.